Monday, January 16, 2012

Royal Enfield Indian Tomahawk, 1960s style

1956 Indian Tomahawk, the way an owner of the 1960s might have wanted it.
Steve Bruce, of Southern Nevada, restored his 1956 Indian Tomahawk just the way an owner might have modified it in the 1960s.

In the 1950s the Indian Tomahawk was sold by Brockhouse in the United States. The Tomahawk was made in England by Royal Enfield and was the equivalent of the Royal Enfield 500cc twin, Steve explains.

"The project concept was to take a 1950s Indian Enfield twin and set it up mostly stock, yet like a 'street scrambler,' the same way an owner might have modified an original bike, way back in the 1960s. In those days I understand Interceptor after market parts were used to replace the stock seat and tank.

"Tank: The '60s chrome Interceptor 'scrambles' tank is from Hitchcocks; however I believe they are sourced from India. The original 'scrambles' tank was slightly smaller and had only one petcock, not two like this current production tank. I believe it is nickel-plated only, which is better looking in my opinion than chrome.

"Seat: The seat base is '60s Interceptor, with padding and cover handmade to low profile 'sports version' spec to go with the scrambler tank.

"Wheels: The front is an India-made 19-inch WM2 and the rear is a WM3 18-inch (not standard for the Tomahawk) genuine period Dunlop rim in pretty good shape, to mount the 4-inch K70, which is a close fit! I know purists will balk at this but going to the WM3 was a common mod back then. On the front I really wanted to use the 7-inch twin leading shoe front brake, because the original was junk. So I had to go with the India-made front end as well.

Steve is working on bringing upswept pipes to his Tomahawk.
"Most everything else is stock except the exhaust. The low pipes were optional but I understand most 1956-1957 model year Tomahawks had the upswept (raked) pipes, which required special parts for the rear brake rod and lever. Alternatively, I am still working on a set of high profile side pipes to complete the 'street scrambler' concept.

"Here is a video of the bike running, it has a great sound; too bad our PC's are not Hi Fi!"

Steve thinks his motorcycle is a close relative of another Indian made by Royal Enfield and featured on the this blog. That is the "Woodshawk" custom —  I originally thought it was some sort of Bullet but in fact it is a combination of two Indian motorcycles made by Royal Enfield in the 1950s. It is a 500cc Woodsman single-cylinder motor in a Tomahawk twin frame.

According to  the Royal Enfield Owners Club, the frame number of the so-called Woodshawk makes it a frame for a December, 1955 Brockhouse Indian Tomahawk 500cc twin. (It is just new enough to be the new frame design introduced that year.) Steve's 500cc Tomahawk twin engine also dates from December, 1955.

"That is probably the frame for my engine, or very close, as the dates match," Steve wrote. "But I don't know if the numbers precisely match."

"I wish I had the frame. I used a '58 Trailblazer (Super Meteor) frame for my Tomahawk twin project, which is substantially the same except for the missing seat bracket."


  1. Looks great,sounds great!Good job,Steve!Thanks for the post,Matt Law~

  2. I'd love to see a drive-by video and also wonder what such a bike might be worth?

    I'd also like to inform Mr.Bruce of the upcoming Indian V. Harley event coming up
    in Yosemite this May 10-12. By their rules his bike qualifies as a genuine Indian, i believe. As far as I know no Enfield Indians were entered last year, although they
    may well have been run when the event was still run in Australia. 2011 was the first
    year in the USA after about a dozen years in Oz.

    And,Dave, by all accounts, it was an event that the good Col. would have enjoyed--
    except for the lack of proper British conveyance.

  3. Anonymous1/19/2012

    Thanks for that info Davidabl, I will check that out hope to attend the show. Another local enthusiast has a stock-ish 1960 Indian Chief (Enfield) in excellent condition, and will see if he is interested in attending, too. Steve


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